(feat. track – “The Steve McQueens”)
In music, there are basically two ways to be great. You can either do something nobody’s done before, or you can do something everybody’s done before but do it flat out better. The Evening Rig fall firmly into the second category. There’s nothing you haven’t heard in their straightforward midwestern Americana – meditations on life and love, loneliness and loss – but I’ll venture you’ve rarely heard it done this well.
The comparisons to fellow Minnesotans The Replacements are obvious, but alongside Jacob Miller’s Westerbergian strained rasp, there are a lot of threads woven into The Evening Rig’s cloth, – Buffalo-Tom-hooks, Material-Issue-swagger and Hold-Steady-raucousness not least among them. In a lot of ways, they sound like middle America’s response to the folks who topped my 2008 list, The Gaslight Anthem.
Of course the problem with bands like this, and albums like this, is that they’re awful hard to write about. While The Evening Rig can get away with treading well-worn ground in their albums, I am not nearly so capable a craftsman with my reviews, and I’m afraid any attempt of my own to further describe them will just make them sound pedestrian. All I can really say is this – if you like any of the above-mentioned folks, you owe it to yourself to check out “Is Doin’ Stuff.” It’s really that good.